Comment by gypsum on Welcome to Less Wrong! (7th thread, December 2014) · 2015-06-08T21:43:25.240Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Hello, all!

I’ve lurked this site on and off for at least five years, probably longer. I believe I first ran into it while exploring effective altruism. Articles that had a definite impact on my thinking included those on anchoring, priming, akrasia, and Newcomb's problem. Alicorn's Luminosity series is also up there, and I keep perpetual bookmarks to "The Least Convenient Possible World" and "Avoiding Your Belief's Real Weak Points."

I earned a B.A. in history, worked for a couple years in a financial planning office, then ended up on the rather weird track of becoming a professional piano accompanist. It turned out to be a far more financially and logistically feasible career move than the other grand idea I attempted at the time (convincing GiveWell I'd be an awesome hire). So piano is what I'm doing now. (GiveWell is admittedly still my longshot/backburner plan B, but I'm focusing all professional development on the music end of things right now).

Some things I've got more than a passing interest in, which I think fit the LW ethos:

  • Taubman approach. Approach to keyboard technique (and prevention of repetitive-motion-injury) that got the recognition and interdisciplinary interest of the scientific and medical communities. My personal experience is, "This shit works: it saved my wrists and music career," and the data indicates my experience isn't just anecdote or placebo effect.

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of charitable-giving interventions. I went to a highly conservative/libertarian college, where, if I wanted to donate to or support any poverty-alleviation program, I'd better be ready with a 95-point defense of my choice. Or else. It's been a continuing interest of mine ever since, appealing equally well to both my cynicism and idealism.

  • Finding secular alternatives to the community-building structures, motivational structures, and self-examination/self-change disciplines of religion.

  • Classical stoicism. Thus far I've found its framework and mindhacks to be a balanced, practical fit for my personality and temperament. I especially appreciate how it hasn't yet sent me into any extreme, detrimental pitfalls as I've tried to apply it. I'd be interested in meeting other people who are trying to methodically apply it to their lives, but I get the feeling we're probably a pretty quiet and weird bunch.

I likely won't comment here much, but I wanted to at least finally make an account, introduce myself, and let you all know I've found the site valuable over the years. I've been making a more concerted effort recently to seek out and connect with individuals who value things I value, and I figured it was high time to drop by the Less Wrong community, as a part of that.